Before and during a disaster

If you find yourself caught up in a disaster, there are various measures you can take.

General measures

  • Can you hear a siren? Go inside and close all doors and windows.
  • Tune the (battery-operated) radio in to the emergency station, or turn on the TV.
  • Go to for more information.
  • Follow the instructions issued by the public authorities and relief workers.
  • Don’t go to collect your children from school. The school authorities will look after them.
  • Help other people as much as possible.
  • Even if the telephone still works, don’t make unnecessary calls. Try to avoid overloading the network.

Specific measures

You can also take specific measures in specific types of disaster.

Major fires

  • Is the smoke too thick to see through? Stay close to the ground.
  • Are you stuck in the building? Stand by a window where firefighters can see you.
  • Never go back into a burning building.

Terrorist threats

  • Go to an open area away from tall buildings.
  • Give the police any photos you take.
  • Don’t stay at or approach the scene of the attack.

If the siren sounds

Go inside, close all doors and windows, and tune in to the emergency radio station. You may also receive a warning from a loudspeaker van. Do exactly what you are asked to do. You will receive information from the emergency radio station or via the internet. When the siren sounds, you should:

  • By going inside, you will minimise the risk. This applies to everyone.
  • If you’re working outside or shopping, go as quickly as possible into the nearest building, whether it is a factory, office, shop or private home.
  • Children at school should remain there. The school authorities will look after them.
  • Are you in a car? Park the car, get out, and make your way as quickly as possible into any building you can enter. If you cannot do so, turn off the engine and ventilation system, and stay in the car.
  • Allow other people to shelter with you.
  • If you can see that other people have failed to notice the siren, warn them.

Close all doors and windows

  • A disaster or major accident may result in the release of hazardous substances into the air. You can protect yourself against them by staying inside, either at home or in another building.
  • Close all doors, windows and other openings to the outside, such as grates, ventilation ducts, inner doors and partitions.
  • Go into every room with openings to outside air, and close the openings.
  • If possible, turn off the mechanical ventilation system (the plug can often be found in the meter cupboard), or turn the system to its lowest setting.
  • Cover ventilation flues and other openings with newspaper or plastic.

 Listen to the emergency radio station

  • When the siren sounds, a designated regional radio station will become the official emergency station.
  • The public authorities will use the emergency station to inform you of ongoing events and dangers. They will also give you instructions and advice. Follow them.